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Social Policy and Social Sciences

The social sciences encompass those disciplines that study society and social relationships. This approach to understanding the world is relatively new, having emerged at the end of the 19th century. The period of the 17th and 18th centuries called ‘the Enlightenment’ gave rise to a questioning of traditional authority, as embodied in theological teaching, and the espousal of reason and rationality as a better way of understanding the world. This was a time of discoveries in medicine, mathematics, and physics as the outcome of scientific research and experiment. In the 19th century, Auguste Comte put forward the idea of applying the scientific method of observation and experiment to the study of human behaviour and relationships. By the end of the 19th and beginning of ...

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